Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This original study examines a new phenomenon in New Orleans tourism. Since Hurricane Katrina hit in late August 2005, droves of individuals and groups have come to New Orleans to help rebuild the city. Through conducting fifty interviews with these individuals from 2008-2009, the author traces the steps of volunteer tourists in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. This study investigates the experiences of volunteer tourists. Additionally, the author immersed herself with volunteer tourism groups to experience volunteering and the groups herself. Through careful inspection of original interviews with volunteer tourists, the author discovers how the volunteer tourists contribute to the city of New Orleans. Particularly, the author looks how stories explicate the experiences of volunteer tourists in New Orleans and how stories serve as souvenirs for the tourists. Additionally, the author shows how volunteer tourists are motivated through their altruism and how religion facilitates volunteer tourists’ altruistic motives. The next chapter discusses volunteer tourists decisions to work on vacation and how they understand their work in New Orleans as contributions to the city. In “Layers of Place: Understanding New Orleans through the Perspectives of Volunteers,” the author uncovers how volunteer tourists form a relationship with the city and its residents. Finally, the author looks at future possibilities for research.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Bowman, Michael S.



Included in

Communication Commons